Once your child grows out of the toddler to preschooler stage there really isn't a lot of advice available on how to create Montessori home spaces. When it comes to my children's rooms my aim is to create a space they can be themselves in, that they can grow in, relax in and be at peace in, that they can use to explore the world. It needs to be warm and comfortable. Their rooms also in some way will reflect their individual personalities and interests.
Many families like bedrooms for sleeping only and therefore will only contain a bed and perhaps a few books. My two older boys have their own rooms which contain all of their (indoor) toys, art supplies and books. In our previous home the boys shared a room and also had a playroom. While we were putting together the boys' new rooms (they still aren't finished) there were lots of things we considered including;
- Something easy to care for, something to grow. A plant, cactus, carnivorous plant, perhaps something growing from seed.
- Wall art. Let them choose, I show them an artist or a store I like and let them choose that way, Otis also loves the posters from the National Geographic children's magazine, which would make nice/suitable wall art.
- Wall calendar. This can include their individual schedule/activities, Otis has a large calendar (similar to this) the back of his room door.
- A space to display their handmade items or artwork. Not all families like to display items but Otis often likes to put on his wall one or two special pieces.
- Wall clock. My boys don't have clocks in their rooms but it's worth thinking about.
- Map of the world or a globe.
- Reading nook or book corner. Perhaps include some cushions and/or a warm blanket. I love large floor cushions in children's rooms.
- Area for exploration. Perhaps a bug viewer, magnifying glass or microscope.
- An area for nature study or nature collection. I don't know a child who doesn't have one of some kind.
- An area to display found things or to display collections. Collection boxes are nice options.
- Workspace. Our two older boys have desks in their rooms.
- Soft lighting. We put on the boys' desk lamps and turn off their main lights after dinner in preparation for bedtime, night lights are useful too.
- Music centre/player for music, podcasts or guided meditation.
- Bookshelves or a book basket. Every bedroom needs a few books! Even when we've had larger bookshelves Otis still likes to a have a few carefully selected books in a basket next to his bed.
- A basket or bag specifically for library books. We've always found it useful to keep library books separate from our own books, it makes them easier to find and to return.
- Some personal photographs or a small photo album of their own, for photographs they have taken or photographs of themselves with their family and friends.
- Easy access to personal items. A mirror for dressing (if not available in the bathroom or similar), hooks for backpacks, storage for clothing and dirty laundry, storage for shoes if not stored elsewhere.
- Art supplies. While you may not want to encourage too many art supplies in the bedroom, a small notepad, pencils or crayons might be a nice idea.
- Items specific to their areas of interest including toys and materials. We love Schleich Dinosaurs for our Dinosaur lover, a solar system mobile for our child interested in space. Caspar has a couple of Lego technic kits. It really could be anything of interest but make it personal!
- A space to display trophies or awards. If your child plays a sport it's likely at some stage you'll have awards or trophies that your child might want to display (Otis at six doesn't have any trophies but Caspar at ten years has a lot). If you don't want to display them a special box might be a nice way of keeping them safe.
- A drawer or space specifically for electronics and rechargers. A dedicated drawer helps to keep these items safe, tidy and in one space when not being used.
These suggestions aren't limited to Montessori home spaces but provide some ideas on what we consider. It's easy to say and hard to do, but we try for a less is more approach. There is no need to overfill their rooms. We can feel overwhelmed and unable to care for our things when we have too much! The room doesn't need to be fully decorated, the bookshelf doesn't have to be full, allow some space for the child to grow into the room. And as always, follow the child!
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